Nov. 20, 2012
| DirecTVClassic.com | WatchESPN.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Rice University men's basketball reverses coasts as the team heads west for the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim. The Owls take on Georgia Tech on Thursday at 8 p.m. CT in the first round. The contest will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
The Owls (1-2) took a hard-fought loss at Temple on Saturday, 77-63. It was the team's first road game of the season, as Rice plays seven of its first 11 games of the year at Tudor Fieldhouse.
Tamir Jackson notched his second-straight double-double in the setback with team highs in both points (17) and rebounds (12). Jackson, a Paterson, N.J. native, was one of three players with friends and family in the crowd as Keith Washington (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Julian DeBose (Washington, D.C.) also brought strong contingents of local fans.
DeBose enjoyed the friendly crowd as he scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Washington also played well in the homecoming, as the freshman tallied 12 points and a pair of steals.
Rice hopes that its four west-coast natives get a similar boost in Anaheim this week. Max Guercy, Dan Peera and Austin Ramljak hail from the Golden State, while Seth Gearhart grew up in Oregon.
Rice faces a strong national field early in the season as the Owls head to Anaheim, Calif. for the 2012 DirecTV Classic.
Rice plays Georgia Tech in the opening round on ESPNU (8 p.m. CT, Nov. 22), with a matchup against either Cal or Drake looming in the semifinal round on Nov. 23.
Filling out the other half of the bracket, Drexel, Pacific, St. Mary's and Xavier await on Nov. 25. All 12 tournament games will be televised nationally on ESPN networks and online on WatchESPN.com.
Rice posted a 2-2 record in the South Padre Island Invitational last season and last played a regular-season tournament in California in 2006-07 (St. Mary's College Classic).
The DirecTV Classic marks Rice's sixth regular season tournament in California, dating back to the 1981 Golden Gate Classic. The Owls are 3-7 in regular season tournaments in the state.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech enters the tournament 2-0 with a pair of convincing wins against Tulane and Presbyterian. The Yellow Jackets hold a +16.0 scoring margin over the opponents and are outshooting their opposition, .447-.404, from the field.
Two players score in double figures, led by Kammeron Holsey's 12.5 points per game. Marcus Georges-Hunt adds 12.0 points as well. GT has been strong on the boards with a +14.0 rebound margin against the opposition.
The DirecTV Classic marks the team's first trip away from its brand new McCamish Pavilion.
Scouting the Semifinal
The Golden Bears are 3-0 on the young season, with a pair of home wins against CSU Bakersfield and Pepperdine and a road win at Denver. Cal features a pair of players averaging more than 20 points per game in Allen Crabbe (26.7) and Justin Cobbs (20.7).
The Bulldogs split their first two games of the season with a 96-66 win over William Jewell and an 85-79 setback at Detroit. Five different players average double-figure points, led by Ben Simons' 18.0 per game.
Drake is knocking down 52.4 percent of its three-point attempts and 52.6 percent of field goals on the season.
Charity Stripe Success
Through three games, Rice has converted an impressive 58-77 free throws (75.3 percent). The team sank 68.4 percent of shots from the foul line last season. The program record for free throw accuracy in a season is 74.0 percent, set by the 1967-68 team.
Guercy is a perfect 12-of-12 at the line, while Gearhart is second on the team at 9-11 (81.8 percent). Guercy is one of only six players in the nation to attempt 12 or more free throws and sink all of them.
Jackson recorded the first two double-doubles of his career with 12 points and 15 rebounds in the win over St. Edward's, followed by 17 points and 12 boards at Temple. He is one of only 28 players in NCAA Division I to notch at least 12 points and 15 rebounds in the same game this season.
Jackson is one of four Conference USA players currently averaging a double-double for the season.
|Keith Clanton, UCF
|Tamir Jackson, Rice
|Rod Rucker, UAB
|TaShawn Thomas, Houston
Rice returns from its cross-country trip to host Houston Baptist on Dec. 1. The game opens a five-game homestand, which runs through Dec. 22 against TCU.
The Owls then make one more road swing to Texas on Dec. 29 and Harvard on Jan. 5 before Conference USA play begins.